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Tatum teases critics after title: 'Had to listen to all the shit that people said'

Nathaniel S. Butler / National Basketball Association / Getty

Jayson Tatum is thrilled to prove his biggest critics wrong.

After winning his first NBA title and the Boston Celtics claiming a record 18th championship, Tatum threw a dig at his detractors as he reminisced on a tumultuous journey in the league.

"These last seven years have been a roller coaster, up and down," Tatum told reporters following Boston's title-clinching Game 5 win at home Monday. "I had to listen to all the shit that people said about me.

"And tonight, it was worth it."

The 26-year-old led the Celtics with 31 points and 11 assists over 45 minutes in Monday's victory, adding eight rebounds and two steals to help Boston win its first championship since 2008. Despite averaging 22.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 7.2 assists across the series versus the Dallas Mavericks, Tatum missed out on the Finals MVP award to longtime teammate Jaylen Brown. The 27-year-old Brown put up 20.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, and five assists through five games but was pivotal in the Celtics taking a commanding 3-0 series lead.

While celebrating together in a champagne-soaked locker room Monday, Brown and Tatum shared a moment by poking further fun at their doubters.

Boston selected Tatum and Brown with the third overall pick in back-to-back drafts in 2016 and 2017. The tandem has helped the Celtics reach the playoffs every year they've played together, including six trips to the conference finals and a Finals appearance in 2022 before falling in six games to the Golden State Warriors.

Brown also won this year's Eastern Conference Finals MVP award for his performance in Boston's sweep over the Indiana Pacers. Tatum was bestowed the same honor in 2022 after helping the Celtics topple the Miami Heat in seven games.

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